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Nearly a million and a half New Yorkers lost Medicaid: most due to bureaucracy


Alina Prikhodko

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More than a million New Yorkers have been kicked off Medicaid. This trend is observed throughout the country. According to News Week, this comes after the federal government abandoned its continuous coverage policy during the pandemic.

According to the report Kaiser Family Foundation, 1,4 million New Yorkers were removed from Medicaid, and 3,3 million of those previously on Medicaid were reauthorized.

It's a nationwide trend as states try to reinstate Medicaid coverage after the government stopped providing permanent coverage during the pandemic. Nationwide, at least 19,6 million Medicaid enrollees have been disenrolled. That's about 30% of the program's total enrollment since Medicaid cuts began.

Many of those who lost coverage did so for procedural reasons: According to KFF, 69% of cases had coverage canceled due to a missed form submission deadline or incorrect address. In New York, this reason accounted for 45% of those who were deprived of insurance.

Reasons for termination

While some southern states, such as Texas and Florida, have stopped expanding Medicaid and made it more difficult to get approved, New York's drop in rates may only be due to the state's large population of people on Medicaid.

“Because the state's Medicaid population is so large, it makes sense that they also had the highest number of waivers during the rollout period,” said Louise Norris, a health policy analyst. “The number of redeterminations they process each month exceeds the total number of Medicaid enrollees in some states.”

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New York boasts one of the highest limits for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIPS), up to 400% of the poverty level. CHIPS is a state and federal government-administered program that offers health insurance to children from families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low for private coverage.

The state expanded its Essential Health Program to cover adults with incomes up to 250% of the poverty level, significantly higher than many other states. That means those who don't qualify for Medicaid this year will likely be able to find other coverage through the plan, Norris explained.

Don't waste time

Texas is purposefully reducing Medicaid coverage through special programs, according to Chris Fong, CEO of Smile Insurance.

“We believe that a significant number of them were eligible to participate in the temporary expansion of the COVID Medicaid program and now do not have this opportunity,” Fong acknowledged, and clarified that it will be more difficult to restore the program in Texas than in other states.

“Many people lost their jobs during the pandemic and relied heavily on Medicaid for health insurance, but when they started working again, COVID Medicaid protections allowed them to remain on Medicaid,” he stressed.

For those who find themselves in a similar situation, Fong advises to act immediately.

“Usually they only find out they've lost Medicaid when they try to see a doctor and are told they don't have insurance,” said the CEO of Smile Insurance. “The best advice we can give if someone finds themselves in a situation where they have lost Medicaid is to immediately contact their state Medicaid agency, find out the reasons for the loss, and reapply if they are still eligible.”

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